1933 Saint-Gaudens Shatters Rare Coin Record
The famed 1933 Saint-Gaudens $20 gold piece seized in 1996 by the U.S. Secret Service and once owned by King Farouk of Egypt has captured a staggering $7.59 million at auction. That’s the highest price ever paid for a numismatic coin and the second highest price for a numismatic item, the highest being the 80 lb. Kellogg and Humbert “Eureka Bar” recovered from the SS Central America and sold for $8,000,000.00.
Before the “King Farouk” sale could take place, David Redden, vice chairman of Sotheby’s, handed the U.S. Mint Director Henrietta Holsman Fore a $20 Federal Reserve note in payment to officially monetize what was considered a round disk of gold. Once this formality was complete the auction commenced with standing room only. Most attendees were there only to witness the event.
The sale of the coin brought those in attendance at the Stack’s and Sotheby’s sale to their feet with a thunderous applause. The enthusiasm from the sale of the coin jump-started the American Numismatic Association’s Annual Convention and has created a very positive aura around the market in general.
The purchaser of the coin wishes to remain anonymous, but has recently met the terms of the sale as reported by Coin World magazine, making the sale final. The big question now is, what would happen if another 1933 Double Eagle surfaced? This is a valid question, given some 445,000 were struck before President Roosevelt took us off the gold standard and ordered all 1933 Double Eagle coins to be melted. The key question is: How many coins made it out the door without being melted?
The winning bidder of the historic coin should rest easy. According to the mint, the only coin legal to own is the Farouk specimen, and if another did surface, the coin would be seized by the Department of Justice and probably melted.
Nonetheless, with all of the uncertainty within the equity markets and the real threat of war, we have seen a notable increase in purchases from customers who wish to increase their holdings of tangible assets. The sale of items such as this monstrous rarity always has a significant effect on the demand for coins